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New Zealanders living across the Tasman given access to Australia's wage subsidy scheme

New Zealanders living in Australia at risk of losing their jobs will be able to access the Australian government's new wage subsidy scheme.

Source: istock.com

The scheme only applies to New Zealanders on 444 visas, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in a press conference this afternoon.

"New Zealanders on 444 visas don't get access to the welfare system, but they are getting access to this JobKeeper payment," he said.

"They're connected to businesses here, they have commitments here, they own and rent properties, and they are part of an ongoing economy here in Australia."

The subsidy scheme offers $1530 a fortnight.

The scheme is similar to New Zealand's subsidy scheme, which is $585.80 per week for full-time workers and $350 for part-time workers, paid in a lump sum over seven weeks. Overall, a full time worker gets a total payment of $7,029.60.

The subsidies will last for six months, with full-time, part-time and casual workers who have been with their employer for at least 12 months eligible.

Sole traders have also been included in the package.

Payments will flow to businesses in the first week of May and will be backdated to March 30.

Workers stood down since March 1 will be eligible.

Mr Morrison said some countries would face economic collapse or hollowing out in coming months as the disease spreads globally.

"In the very worst of circumstances, we could see countries themselves fall into chaos - this will not be Australia," he said.

The latest package comes on top of almost $70 billion in already announced federal government stimulus.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australia was facing an economic and health war.

"The past weeks have been tough but the weeks ahead will be tougher," he said.

"Australians know that no matter how great the challenge is, our government has their back."

Coupled with support for banks, the government has so far set aside $320 billion, or 16.4 per cent of GDP, to deal with the fallout from the virus.

In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was "really pleasing the Australia Government has agreed to provide them a wage subsidy at their time of need".

“We need to unite and look after everyone to beat Covid-19 and Prime Minister Morrison and I are in regular contact about our respective efforts to beat the virus and support our people.”